Weight loss surgery patients should use Sous Vide to cook soft food without burning

Dr Terry Simpson weight loss surgeon

The week has been a tough one for many in the United States – those of us who are lucky enough to be in Phoenix Arizona have seen days when we are the warmest spot in the nation — and it isn’t July!  My cup of coffee this morning is filled with heavy cream – never half and half, never powder – a small bit of real cream cuts the bitterness, adds very few calories- and is far more tasty than anything I can get from a drive-by coffee place. What are you having this morning?

How to Start Cooking without Burning

Inspiring patients to cook has been a passion of mine for a while. And the first kitchen tool I suggest they get is Sous Vide system for cooking. With Sous Vide you cannot overcook chicken, or steak, you can have the most amazing eggs, and cook salmon without fear that your house will smell like cooked salmon.

Sous Vide cooking requires that you have a water bath that controls precise temperature of cooking. Take chicken breasts – a protein that many people eat, thinking because it is lean it is healthy – but that’s another post. If you cook chicken breasts on a grill about 95%, or more, it will be overcooked – and dry. If you bake chicken and take it out of the oven one minute late the chicken will be overcooked and dry. If you try to pan fry the chicken, most of the time it will be overcooked and dry. If you fry it- while you might get that amazing skin with it- the interior breast will be overcooked and dry. If you have a Lap-Band, you will probably tell me that you can’t eat chicken.

Why is a simple chicken breast so easy to over cook? Chicken meat is lean (which is why most people think they like it) – as such, the proteins start to lose their water at 160 degrees F.

  1. Most recipes, incorrectly, tell people to remove chicken once the internal temperature is 160 degrees or 165 degrees.  By that time the chicken is going to be too dry and unpalatable.

But, if you cook the chicken breast sous vide style – it won’t be overcooked. Sous Vide style the chicken breast is sealed in a plastic bag, then placed into a water oven and, in the case of chicken, the temperature is held at 148 degrees F.  You cannot overcook the chicken, because the temperature will never be above that. After 45 minutes the chicken is safe to eat. You then can do a variety of things with the chicken breast – add some bbq sauce or a quick flash fry of the skin, or a marsala sauce.

Chicken cooked Sous Vide doesn’t get stuck in my patients who have a Lap-Band – I’ve proven this in two cooking demonstrations for our support group. But even better- this chicken breast comes out moist, some sensation your mouth will find amazing.

What I like about Sous Vide cooking is it is easy for the busy cook – you can prepare a batch of chicken breasts then freeze them in their plastic bags and retherm them later (put them into a sous vide and allow them to warm up). You are not limited by the time factor (that is, too much won’t hurt) — when I invite friends over, I will have steaks in the Sous Vide and when we decide we want to eat then I pull them out of the water-oven and do a quick grill (two minutes per side – at the grill’s hottest temperature). There is no worry about “perfect timing” because you won’t overcook.

I love salmon cooked this way – because salmon is a delicate protein, and if it is overcooked it also will dry and become ruined- I like cooking salmon at 126 degrees F for about 25 minutes.

So if you didn’t get a Sous Vide system for Christmas, and you are serious about healthy eating – consider getting one. There are a number of systems out there that are much less expensive than when I started using this method four years ago.

I have a number of recipes on http://terrysimpson.com and a bit more about Sous Vide cooking here.

Enough sitting- I have 10,000 steps to take today – if you see me out on the walk please give me a wave

— oh- and happy new year